I tell him, “They forgot to install an on-off switch when I came off the assembly line.”
He mumbles something about the mold breaking when I fell off the conveyor belt, but soon forgives my inability to stay focused. He sees my shortcomings as a source of income.
The truth is, even if I could turn it off, I don’t know if I would.
At night when I’m in bed, my husband asks, “Are you concentrating, Felice? Are you with me? Are you here?”
I tell him I am. I wave from my corner of the galaxy.
“You’re writing in your head again, aren’t you?” he asks.
I reply, “Faster. Faster. A little to the left.”
The cop says, “Lady, do you know how fast you were going?” I don’t think it would convince a jury of my peers if the officer wrote on the speeding ticket, “Defendant said her mind was going a million miles a minute. She was developing a plot.”
In my house, food is never undercooked, cakes chew like cookies, and I never ask anyone how they want their meat cooked because I cannot guarantee results anyway.
I don’t know what the big deal is. I keep things under control. I pay bills early so they won’t be late. I never miss a deadline. I compensate for my distractions by being incredibly neurotic. My mind may be somewhere else, but my body is in the right place at the right time. I never forget a comma, but sometimes I forget directions or my makeup.
“I couldn’t help it,” I say. “I was writing.”
When my kids introduce me, they say, “This is my mom. She lives on another planet.”
Once my older son said, “This is my mom. She talks to pretend people.” Someone in Hollywood heard it, changed the quote a little and got very rich.
If the conversation is at Point A, I’m at Point K. I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I’ve been told I should pay better attention. I've also been told my segues are indicative of bad manners.
I have a friend who puts up with me. She says I entertain her. When she introduces me, she says, “Felice is somewhat circular in a semi-direct way.” She isn’t offended by my inability to stay on subject.
If you were on the perfect wave, would you stop surfing? If you found a gentle, intoxicating breeze, would you go to the indoor mall? If you were on a swing and you thought you were going to go over the top, would you stop pumping?
I have to go grocery shopping today, but first, I’m going to sit down at the computer for just five minutes. It may be five hours.
Did you say something?
Writer’s Digest Chronicle’s Winner December 2005
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